Luis Santana - Photographer


I started out as a firefighter, then a paramedic. Later on, I moved into freelance photography, taking pictures for local news agencies. That led to a career change after I caught the attention of photo editors at the then-St. Petersburg Times. I joined the staff on June 6, 2006 (and no, I’m not superstitious about all those 6s). I became one of the first journalists in the area to use drones, and now, that work has been celebrated and seen around the world. I specialize in covering breaking news, from the ground and in the air. Protests and parades. Hurricanes and wildfires. Sinkholes and speeding cars. I also live-stream events for a growing digital audience. I’m a husband, a father of three and a dog dad.

  1. Servers wear face masks as patrons enjoy outdoor dining while crowding Beach Dr. on Friday, May 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg. Restaurants and patrons begin to adapt to the new rules set forth by Governor Ron DeSantis during phase one of re-opening of the state of Florida. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
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  3. Air travel has been significantly affected by COVID-19 canceling flights worldwide. Tampa International Airport is seeing the effects of the reduced air travel as the normally busy airport is nearly empty on Wednesday in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  4. Air Force Reserve airmen of the 927th Air Refueling Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron loads up at MacDill Air Force Base to join in the global Air Force Reserve Command mission to transport and treat COVID-19 patients around the world. Doctors and nurses of the 927th reserve wing will fly to a staging area in South Carolina where they will join others to be deployed to cities in need of assistance. A C-17 aircraft picked up the crew and their gear on Wednesday in Tampa. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  5. A family friend is seen crying where Hernando County Sheriff detectives along with the Medical Examiner investigates the scene where multiple victims were found dead inside of a home Friday in Spring Hill. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  6. Police are seen near the location where a dog was shot by police after attacking a police horse along the Gasparilla parade route Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Tampa. (Courtesy of Laura Josephson) [Photo courtesy of Laura Josephson]
  7. The scene Sunday afternoon after Plant City police shot a man suspected of trying to run down an officer. The man, who died at the scene, was not immediately named by police. A police spokesman said the man drove the gray Honda pictured toward a Plant City officer. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Luis Santana | Tampa Bay Times]
  8. A semi-trailer truck fell onto an SUV on Interstate 4 on Friday night after a reported tornado touched down and crossed the highway near Lakeland. No one was injured. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  9. Motorcycle riders taking part in the Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride Sept. 29 2019 started in Tampa and ended in St. Petersburg. [GoPro Frame]
  10. Hundreds of people gathered at Grady Goat Yoga to attempt to beat the Guiness World Record for Goat Yoga which currently stands at 352 participants. The event featured over 100 goats frolicking and climbing on top of over 500 participants as they attempted to break the record on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 in Thonotosassa.  Although the event had over 500 people attend organizers would not know for sure if the record was broken until Guiness World Records verifies the attempt which could take several weeks. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  11. Nitro the sea turtle is released back into the sea amid a throng of onlookers after being found ill and rehabilitated at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The loggerhead turtle weighed just over a 100 pounds when she was found by a boater. After being nursed back to health by experts at the aquarium, she was carried to the shore and placed on the sand to make her way back into the water. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 in Clearwater. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
  12. Diamond Thompson and Sanaysha Young as Luigi and Mario pose for a portrait at MetroCon on Saturday, July 13, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  13. [ANGELIQUE HERRING   |   Times]
  14. Jun. 24, 2019• All Eyes
    Sergeant 1st Class Brant Ireland receives the Heart of the Team Award during the closing ceremony of the 2019 Warrior Games.
[LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
  15. Aerial views of the illuminated pyramid like structure called a ziggurat which sits on the top of the SunTrust Financial Centre on Saturday, May 11, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times [LUIS, SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  16. IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden celebrates with his team in victory circle after winning his first Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
  17. A large cloud is scene off the wing of NOAA's Gulfstream IV jet callsign NOAA-49, a high-tech, high-flying, and high-speed platform used for hurricane forecasting and research. During this mission NOAA-49 flew a 2,400 mile 5.5 hour mission at 45,000 ft. around Hurricane Michael to create a detailed picture of the surrounding upper atmosphere, Tuesday October 9, 2018.
  18. A bin filled with firearms sits ready for disposal after being rendered safe and logged into computers. (Luis Santana, Times)